Amid Public Safety Crisis, Convicted Criminals Serve as Police in Alaska

July 22, 2019 AT 8:18 AM

By Kristin Lam

Dozens of police officers with criminal records have worked in Alaska's cities, despite a state law that should have disqualified them, an investigation by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found.

The findings of at least 14 city police departments employing more than 34 convicted criminals came nearly a month after U.S. Attorney General William Barr declared a public safety emergency in the state, highlighting disproportionate rates of violence and sexual assault.

Local tribal governments have also hired tribal police officers convicted of domestic violence or sex crimes in an additional eight communities, the publications reported Thursday. Women in remote villages already face extraordinary barriers in reporting and dealing with sexual assault, USA TODAY reported last month, such as lacking access to victim support services.

In the rural city of Stebbins, for example, the Daily News reported that all seven officers have pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges in the past 10 years.

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